On Tuesday night the Playing for Change Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary with an all-star “We Are One” benefit concert at Club Mayan in downtown Los Angeles. Members of the Doobie Brothers and Little Feat joined the Playing for Change band for a three-hour performance honoring the non-profit whose mission provides music in schools worldwide. The evening featured multiple video presentations, including the premiere of a newly recorded version of the Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music” with many of the evening’s artists.
The event began with a tribute to the victims of the recent gun violence at a Las Vegas music festival, then followed with a check presentation from legendary harmonica player Lee Oskar, who donated $31,000 and 500 harmonicas to Playing for Change. Guitarist and singer Nahko opened the musical portion of the night with a solo acoustic appearance, followed by the Playing for Change band and its special guests. Interspersed with Playing for Change performing covers of artists ranging from Sam Cooke, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and Bruno Mars, was a visit from Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, and John McFee for renditions of Doobies’ classics “Black Water,” “China Grove,” and “Listen to the Music.”
Drummer James Gadson and singer Ellis Hall also sat-in with the 13-piece ensemble, joined by Little Feat’s Fred Tackett, Paul Barrere, and Kenny Gradney for show-closing versions of “Down on the Farm,” “Willin’,” and an extended “Dixie Chicken,” with Barrere dedicating “Willin’” to Tom Petty. Lastly, the majority of the artists gathered onstage for the finale of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”